- Oct 26, 2017
On November 2, 2018, Blizzard closed its annual BlizzCon keynote by announcing, to scattered applause, a Diablo game for phones. It was a baffling marketing decision that immediately set off controversy, as fans of Blizzard’s iconic action-role-playing game franchise loudly accused the company of neglecting its PC players.
Perhaps Blizzard’s marketing department had expected Diablo fans to be excited about Diablo Immortal, but the announcement was yet another strange move in a string of bizarre Diablo-related decisions over the past few years. After Diablo III’s disastrous launch on PC in 2012 and a road to redemption that culminated with 2014’s expansion, Reaper of Souls, fans had expected long-term support and perhaps a second expansion for the third Diablo. It had sold more than 30 million copies, after all.
But since 2014, updates to Diablo III have been light and sporadic, and four years later, Blizzard’s announcement of Diablo Immortal at a time when fans are hungry for any news of a Diablo IV has led to big questions about the future of the franchise.
https://kotaku.com/the-past-present-and-future-of-diablo-1830593195What’s really going on with Diablo? What happened to Diablo III’s long-term plan? Is Diablo Immortal, developed in part outside of Blizzard by the Chinese company NetEase, a sign that Blizzard has lowered its standards or abandoned its core audience? Is there a Diablo IV in development, or has Blizzard given up on PC games in favor of phones?
To try to answer these questions, I’ve spoken to 11 current and former Blizzard employees, all of whom spoke anonymously because they were not authorized to speak to press. They’ve told me about a canceled second expansion for Diablo III, and about Diablo IV, which is indeed in development but was rebooted in 2016. They’ve talked about the series’ popularity in China, which is one of the main reasons for Diablo Immortal’s existence, and about how the specter of the canceled game Titan hangs over many of Blizzard’s decisions.